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What’s Going On At Genealogy Wise?

Genealogy Wise

Both Twitter, Facebook and the blogosphere are abuzz with some “goings on” at Genealogy Wise and try as I (and others) might, we can’t seem to get an answer from Genealogy Wise, FamilyLink, Paul Allen or others.

From what I’ve heard there are some serious issues and this goes beyond merely the layoff of 15 people in October 2009 or some dissatisfied former employees.  Various people have commented on a) how they feel they are owed monies promised to them for their work on various projects (non-payment of wages is a serious matter for me) and more disturbing b) how their accounts have been disabled or deleted on Genealogy Wise because they’ve decided to raise their voice an express an opinion.

I’d like to think that Paul Allen had learned his lesson with the Terry Thornton fiasco last July but sometimes it is just easier to revert to old nasty habits and try to “Stalinize” folks by wiping them out of the picture.  To test this, I just posted the following comment and message to the GeneaBloggers group over on Genealogy Wise:

Hello everyone

I’ve been stymied trying to send a message to all members of the GeneaBloggers group here on Genealogy Wise – so I apologize if this appears to be duplicate information.

A pre-emptive strike in case my account here at GW is removed – I am hearing of some disturbing problems about GW and no I don’t mean the layoffs which occurred in October 2009. That is old news.

I am receiving credible reports from users about non-payment of monies promised to certain GW folks who worked on various projects and more importantly that GW accounts are being removed for those people who have spoken up about various GW and FamilyLink practices. We all remember the Terry Thornton fiasco from last summer (see and I would hate to see dissent being handled by simply taking Stalin’s approach of making people disappear.

I have tried to contact GW management and other staff to no avail. So before this group and my account gets shut down let me say:

– as a blogger and as someone who has helped to build a community of bloggers, I find the idea of being unable to handle criticism and simply quashing free speech abhorrent

– please know that you are always welcome to join the GeneaBloggers Group on Facebook as well as visit the site.

– both of these are and always will be free and safe places where you can have an intelligent conversation like an adult.

Please stay tuned to GW issues over at GeneaBlogggers ( especially if this group or I “disappear.” It may be my own doing since I fail to see how GeneaBloggers can rightfully be affiliated with GW.

Thomas MacEntee

I’ll be monitoring the situation, the response to my message and by weeks end I may very well decide that an affiliate with Genealogy Wise is not so wise.  Stay tuned.

© 2010, copyright Thomas MacEntee

11 thoughts on “What’s Going On At Genealogy Wise?

  1. Great article – written like the intelligent adult you are!

    I don’t understand why GW and Paul Allen are keeping quiet? Can’t they just respond? Don’t they understand that silence, while it is a right, can also be a very very damaging thing to your image?

    Oh well…I will definitely be re-thinking my affiliation with GW over the next few weeks. I only associate myself with companies that pride themselves with integrity, honor, and a trusting relationship with their customers.

  2. Thank you Thomas for being the voice for us and standing up for us. While I have a GW account, I have had very little to do with it. If my account “disappears” it will be fine with me. I choose not to support this kind of behavior. I will be staying tuned for GW issues as they occur.

  3. Well said, Thomas. As you know, I never really got into the GW scene
    especially after the Terry Thornton thing.I took a “wait and see” attitude
    with them in case I was wrong in what I originally felt about it(hey,I was
    wrong about Facebook) but this latest incident only confirms that first

  4. Thanks Thomas for keeping us geneabloggers up to date. I haven’t used GW all that much and from what has been reported lately, I don’t think I have really missed anything. I would rather concentrate my time and energies networking with other genealogists and family historians on reputable sites.

  5. Hello Thomas,
    I’m extremely happy to know that you – and various others – have taken on the task of “citizen-journalist” and are trying to get a handle on this situation.
    I had decided about a month ago – for several reasons – hat I was going to shut down the Postcard Group but had avoided doing so because I didn’t want to harm an association that other Geneabloggers appeared to be supporting.
    Apart from the disturbing concerns that you raise, it’s clear that the whole “online social – collaboration” type thing is very tricky.
    I thought John Gasson (Wandering Genealogist) put it well here:

  6. Thank you for an informative article, Thomas. I’m a member of GW and imagine there are things that can be learned from it, and I think Gena is doing a good job as Community Manager now. I haven’t been active on it because I can’t spread myself that thin. I had to decide if I wanted to DO genealogy or just read and talk about it. It’s all I can do (while working full time) to keep up with the geneabloggers on Facebook, add worthwhile content to my blogs and do my family history research. It’s all about priorities for me.

  7. I’m glad you posted this, Thomas. Those of us not active on GW need to know. I’m with Becky: Geneabloggers on FB is enough for me to handle.

  8. I am glad you posted this Thomas. It’s an excellently written article.

    I was seriously excited about GW and I was one of the volunteers and got involved at the very beginning. I am one of those people that had to shout loud and hard to get paid, I had projects taken away from me even as I was working on them without any notification other than to find somebody else had completed the tasks after I put alot of effort into them and went to post up information. I don’t feel I was treated fairly by the staff, and it left a really bad taste in my mouth with regard to a majority of the community there. They pushed the volunteers way past the point of no return, I work full time, requiring me to up and working online until after midnight night after night was not my idea of how things should be run. It was months before I finally got paid for part of the work I did. I chose not to press for any further reimbursement and have chalked it up to a lesson well learned. My passion for genealogy was stilled for awhile after this experience. I plan to close out my account there myself, it’s not a site I want to be associated with anymore.

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